Teen writers collaborate 2011.11.23

Written by David Green.

Most kids would prefer doing anything but writing in their spare time, but not the members of Teen Writers Group. Writing is a pastime they enjoy.

The group was organized when several boys spoke with Morenci teacher Sally Kruger about writing.

“Their original idea was that if we collaborated on writing ideas we could write books faster and get them published in half the time,” she said.

She’s making no promises of publication, but she’s delighted to have students interested in writing.

A first meeting was organized and those in attendance worked in pairs to complete a short writing about what they thought would make a good story.

 “I’m enjoying that we have very different genre ideas,” Mrs. Kruger said.

 In subsequent meetings, the writing teams have shared their collaborative efforts with the group to get their opinions on what’s been accomplished

“There has also been a lot of communication via Facebook,” Mrs. Kruger said. “It’s fun to log on and find myself in a serious conversation about writing ideas.”

 New members – ninth grade and older – are welcome to join the group. The meeting time is at 11 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month at Stair Public Library. Snacks are provided.

There are no writing requirements. 

“Short stories, poetry and other shorter writing options might interest new members if they don’t want to get involved in the partner style projects already in progress,” Mrs. Kruger said.

The group’s members are willing to help each other out with their efforts, but guidance might come from other sources, as well. Just ask Hunter Nino.

“He recently chatted with his favorite author on Twitter,” Mrs. Kruger said. “He mentioned our group and explained what he was trying to write. The author took the time to provide some suggestions for Hunter’s story. He was excited to get advice from a pro.”


 Excerpts from writers

• Kenneth Dillon and Mary Margaret Hollstein are working together on a graphic novel in the style of a Russian folktale.  Kenneth is drawing the illustrations and Mary is writing.

Mary Margaret: The Russian fairy tale Baba Yaga is about a witch who uses beautiful women to lure men to her home. The story varies a lot throughout folklore but this is the one we decided to base our story on. 

In our story Nicholi has dreams about a young woman whose name, Adlelia, is being whispered to him. He knows he must be the hero who goes to rescue her, so he sets off on a journey. Along the way he stops in a small village where the innkeeper’s son tells Nicholi that he is crazy and it is the Baba Yaga who is calling to him, there is no Adlelia. Nevertheless he continues along and in the forest animals keep coming to him warning him and giving him objects they say will help him.

A very confused and skeptical Nicholi reaches a clearing and sees a house on strange legs and surrounded by a fence made of human bones. Nicholi realizes that the stories were true all along and when he turns to run away he hears a faint whisper on the wind of Adlelia….

• Hunter Nino and Spencer Elliott are working on a sci-fi adventure. They have created a super fighting race called Pures. The Pures are taking over.  Chicago is still standing and has become the new U.S. capital. Most of the country has been destroyed. Other parts of the world are also under attack and falling quickly. Lots of blood and guts and zombie-type action are involved.

• Aaron Elarton and Mrs. Kruger are working in the genre of realistic fiction. 

Mrs. Kruger: Our story is about a kid named Zach. He has previously been home-schooled because he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. Things have changed financially for his family so he is going to public school for the first time as a 10th grader. He is bullied and this is going to be his story.

The first section is by Aaron and the second section is by Mrs. Kruger.

“Just another day of torture and distress, I thought, as I walked over to the alarm to shut it off. I put on my clothes and walked down into the dining room to get my breakfast just as I usually do and my mom says, “Hey.” I just ignored her because of all the hell she is putting me through right now. I got my cereal and sat down. 

My dad walked over and said he had to have a “talk” with me. I listened and nodded when I needed to, and he finally asked the question I knew he was gonna ask. “Why are you putting your mom through all this pain?” 

I totally flipped out when I heard this. Pain!? You think she is going through pain!? Well, try living in my shoes and going to a school where everyone treats you like crap! You don’t know what pain is! After that I just said nothing, walked out, and got on the bus.

Just another day on the bus: Get on, get tripped once or twice on the way to my seat, and get made fun of. Isn’t my life just perfect? 

Zach bent over the combination lock on his locker. He squinted to see the numbers in the dim hallway light. How do they expect anyone to see these tiny hash marks and numbers when they light the place with what amounts to the light generated by a lone candle flickering in a drafty room?

To complicate the issue, Zach’s tics caused his fingers to shake and his eyes to constantly blink. He knew the pressure was on. He had to get the locker open and his materials organized so he could slip away to the media center and its welcoming peace and quiet. If he took too long, Kurt, Kevin and Kyle would descend and begin their daily torture routine.

Ironic that his tormentors had names that represented one of the most notorious bully groups of all time – the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). Zach does everything to avoid these three delightful characters which would be a task that most people in a school of just over 600 students could do without much trouble. However, Zach isn’t most people. Having Tourette’s syndrome doesn’t usually allow him to blend in and slip by unnoticed.

Up until six months ago, Zach did his schoolwork in the comfort of his own home. When it became obvious to his parents that their young son had a condition that made him stand out in a negative way, their first reaction was to protect him. 

By the age of three, Zach had developed a full-blown case of Tourette’s syndrome complete with involuntary muscle spasms and tics and uncontrolled verbal responses that included a colorful vocabulary full of cuss words. Members of his immediate family and close friends understood Zach’s condition and took it in stride, but Zach’s eccentric behavior sometimes surprised even those closest to him.

As the years passed and Zach grew, attempts were made to use medication, therapy, diet, and behavior modification plans to control Zach’s outbursts and tics. Tourette’s does occur in many forms and different levels of intensity. Unfortunately, Zach’s case was quite severe. Medication simply put him to sleep. Even when administered a mild dose, Zach reacted by becoming excessively drowsy. His parents soon acknowledged that their son couldn’t go through life half awake so medication to modify his symptoms was crossed off the list of possibilities.

By the time Zach reached school age he was deeply involved in behavior modification therapy which had helped some, but any stress experience by Zach would intensify his symptoms and make any public interaction incredibly embarrassing for him and very uncomfortable for his concerned and over-protective parents. Home-schooling Zach seemed to be the most sensible solution.

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